Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 4 of Lent 2018

Mark 11:23

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

Day 4 of the Lenten reading is a remarkable (did you see what I did there) passage. It holds a number of curiosities for me. I only have time today to deal with the above verse. There is the cursing of the fig tree – the overturning of the tables of the money changers in the temple – the declaration that the house of the Lord was a place of prayer not a ten of robbers – the withered tree – and today’s verse – “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

I could spend a week in this section of Scripture and still not fully unpack it – I’m sure. What the final statement says – that if we believe and not doubt mountains will be moved to the sea is powerful. Continue reading

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February 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 3 of Lent 2018

John 12:16

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

Day 3 of the Lenten reading is a similar story to the one we read on day one. Today I want to look at the above portion of that passage. At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

As we walk to the cross this Lenten season – I want us to think about some of the things we didn’t or still don’t understand about our faith. It might be things like the Virgin Birth – the resurrection – forgiveness of sin. As we think of those things we might not completely understand – intentionally seek out Scriptures and readings that deal with these items. We live post the resurrection – post the glorification of Christ – and the Holy Spirit is available to us as we seek the understand the things of God. Seek to understand more about Jesus this Lenten season! Continue reading

February 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 2 of Lent 2018

John 12:3

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Today is day 2 of Lent – 2018. The story today for me is about sacrifice – the sacrifice that Mary (not the Virgin Mary) was willing to make for Jesus. Mary (might have been the woman caught in adultery – obviously someone who have known Jesus and His grace) entered a dinner given in Jesus’ honor. She offered Him a gift – a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; and poured it over His head. It was a lavish gift. It was a gift that showed great sacrifice on her part.

The question I thought of today as I read this story was – what am I willing to sacrifice for Jesus? In a sermon not too long ago I asked the question – what does it cost us to follow Jesus? My hope is that as we read today’s Lenten passage we will ask what we are willing to give up – not just for Lent – but for Jesus? Continue reading

February 15, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 1 of Lent 2018

Matthew 21:9-11

9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

For those who are don’t keep up with the Christian Calendar – today marks the start of Lent. Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter. It is normally a time of denying oneself of something – depriving oneself of a pleasure or a desire – as a way of connecting with Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness after His baptism. It is also a walk toward the cross – traditionally ending with Holy Week and Easter.

Today’s passage is part of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. We will remember Palm Sunday on March 25th this year. Stay tuned for more details about Lent in the days to come. Continue reading

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Our Enemies

Matthew 5:44

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

The family was over on Sunday – at least most of it. It was a neat time. I was in my glory holding first one grandchild and then another. At one time I had three of them sitting with me (on me) watching a movie on the TV (a Troll movie). It was such a blessing.

Loving on your grandchildren is so easy. As a matter of fact – loving on anyone who loves you back is easy. I really enjoying cuddling with the grands and I enjoy showing love to my daughters and to my wife. I often don’t have trouble showing love to others as well – with hugs and kind words. What gets hard is showing love to those I know do not love me.

Are there folks in our lives that we might consider enemies? When I think of the word enemies – I often think of the Germans in WWII or Communists who threaten our way of life or ISIS who threatens world peace with terrorism. Enemies seem to be the worst of the worst. They are mean and contrary to all that is sacred or holy (or so it seems). Continue reading

February 13, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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